Do you feel it? The pressure of the season.
I already feel behind as December begins. In a world full of picture perfect moments and shopping and holiday parties, it's exhausting to keep up. I feel the pressure to make Christmas the best yet, all the while life still seems messy. Full of crappy dinners and tired days and challenging relationships.
I love the reminder of the Christmas tree. That it's not about what's under it, but what's on it. You and me and all God's people.
And so, four things I'm learning to let go of this holiday season.
1. An Extravagant Advent: I dropped the ball this year. Typically I make my own for us to walk through in December and I completely failed to do anything. I pinned and schemed but nothing came to fruition. But it's more important for us read Scripture, light a candle, and be diligent in prayer. For us to hear about a smelly stable and an unlikely girl and a messy birth.
2. The Perfect Christmas: There's a lot of pressure on parents to make Christmas magical and the best year ever. Mostly, I put this pressure on myself because I find Christmas to be such a magical time of year. I certainly don't have a Pinterest-worthy house, but there is a Christmas tree with colored lights (because it's Liam's favorite), a nativity scene that is constantly touched and never just so, and a constant chorus of carols. Cookies are baked and sometimes edible. We decorate ornaments that are horrifyingly ugly and nothing you'd see skimming the Pottery Barn catalog but they are the handiwork of a 3-year-old who put so much effort into creating that perfect shade of poo. One day, we'll look back at those precious little pieces of art and be so thankful for those family moments. It is by no means perfect, but Christmas is about the imperfections and the messy. That's why He came.
3. Getting Everything on the List: Liam's wish list is growing a mile long. It's ok not to get everything on the list. In fact, it's good to not. In a few months time, those gifts will be forgotten and thrown in the bottom of a bin somewhere; no need to stress and go into debt over fulfilling every last wish.
4. Guilt: It's barely December and I already feel behind. Get off social media. Stop feeding the lie that your kids need and deserve everything. Giving our best has very little to do with things.
And so. I will reread this again and again and remind myself that He is enough and came to earth for this unlikely girl and a messy life.